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Chris Rock On Hollywood’s Racism Towards Latinos

Comedian Chris Rock has never been one to back away from controversy. He’s spoken many times about the continuing problem of racism in America, usually with regard to African-Americans. But in an essay for The Hollywood Reporter he tackles what he calls the “Mexican slave state” that exists in Hollywood. He speaks at length about how the rich industry people in Los Angeles treat their Latino employees like total crap, paying them next to nothing while working them for long hours. He further says that the film industry itself will often use Latinos to do work for them for very little money. I can say without a doubt that he is 100% right. Rock writes,

“There’s this acceptance that Mexicans are going to take care of white people in L.A. that doesn’t exist anywhere else. I remember I was renting a house in Beverly Park while doing some movie, and you just see all of the Mexican people at 8 o’clock in the morning in a line driving into Beverly Park like it’s General Motors. It’s this weird town.”

Furthermore, he talks about how Latinos are not seen as being a viable addition to the Hollywood film industry. As a Latino that has worked for nearly a decade in the film biz I can tell you that this is absolutely correct. I’m either dismissed offhand or seen as a token Latino. I’ve also seen movie sets employing undocumented Latinos to work for practically nothing to get away with not paying union guys to do the same job. This is particularly true in the indie film world. I can count on one hand the number of Latinos with any real power in Hollywood. Rock says,

“You’re telling me no Mexicans are qualified to do anything at a studio? Really? Nothing but mop up? What are the odds that that’s true? The odds are, because people are people, that there’s probably a Mexican David Geffen mopping up for somebody’s company right now. The odds are that there’s probably a Mexican who’s that smart who’s never going to be given a shot.”

As an industry the film world is fundamentally racist. So much so that minorities have to fight for the scraps from Hollywood’s table. Sadly, it’s a trend I don’t see changing anytime soon.

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